Thursday, May 27, 2010

Arabic etiquette: the promise in Arabic or "bukra insha-lla"

While in the Arab world and dealing with the Arabs, be prepared for what you have to face with one feature of the Arabs - to avoid certain and unequivocal answers like "yes" or "no." Rather than promise to do something, they say insha-lla, which means "if God wishes".

That is an expression insha-lla is used to mean "most likely yes."

Bukra, which means "tomorrow" in the Egyptian dialect, is used to mean "not today".

Switzer-seamstresses, used in promises, which generally means "slowly, not today and not tomorrow, but God willing, everything will be done."

And the expression maalesh - "nothing, it will do" - is used when a person is late or unable to do anything.

So when you make an agreement about something with the Arabs, especially when it comes to the Egyptians, you always hear in response bukra insha-lla, ie, "if God wills, then tomorrow everything will be ready." And here you need a very clear idea that perhaps tomorrow there will be nothing done, or because "God does not wish, or interfere with something else. An attempt to "put pressure" on the Arab partner, and to squeeze out of it time-bound agreement is unlikely to lead to something. Most likely, he just mess about you opinion, and he did not understand why you're so nervous, because it is already doing everything possible.

Once in Egypt, leader of the delegation of Russian students lived in a dorm room, which is not lockable. She was told that the key to the room where something is, but he lost, and promised to find him soon. Resentment and fear of the ladies are well understood, and so, after four days, promises to find the key to her room, or move it to another room and numerous bukra insha-lla her patience is exhausted. Talking to the administration of the hostel at a very high tones, she sent for the same, a key. He was found within half an hour! However, the rest of the month of her stay in the country, almost every day to her approaching administrator dormitories and explained to her in English and in Arabic the same thing: "we tried, we searched for the key, we did everything we could and we did not understand why it was so nervous. We still gave you the key! " Needless to say, that this situation does not contribute to good and partnership relations between Russian and Egyptian counterparts.

The same applies to the meetings. If you make an agreement with an Arab meet, say, two hours of the day, asking if he would be in two, then the answer you'll hear the same insha-lla. This means that it may well be arrived late for 15 minutes at best. Apologies if this do not wait, because the fact that he arrived late, was not his fault that it happened by the will of God, and your upset his expectation of the form does not arouse any sympathy for Arabs. If you begin to hint at the fact that being late is not good, count on a complete misunderstanding on the part of your Arab partners.

Therefore, communicating with your Arab colleagues, rely on the possible delay on, that promise can not always run at the appointed time, the fact that many in the Arab world depends on the case or, in other words, the will of God. Relax and try to learn from your colleagues, the Arab ability to feel life in every passing minute.

At the same time, in the Arab world there are exceptions, it is primarily about Syria. As practice shows, the Syrians are extremely punctual. Syrian hardly arrived late to a meeting, he may even come a little ahead of time. The same can be said about the inhabitants of Jordan.

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